33 YEARS ON FROM GREGORY'S GIRL, HELP US FINALLY GET TO CARACAS

A classic scene from one of Scotland’s best-loved films was recreated today (Thursday) to launch fundraising efforts to take Scottish children on a life-changing trip to South America.

Gregory’s Girl saw schoolboys Andy and Charlie unsuccessfully attempting to hitch-hike to Caracas in Venezuela.

The charity Sistema Scotland has launched a fundraising drive to help take its Raploch-based Big Noise Orchestra to Caracas in January.

Rab Buchanan, who played Andy in the film, was joined by Big Noise musician Charlie McCulloch (14) to try their luck as the 2013 version.

Rab Buchanan said: “I started out in the Glasgow Youth Theatre and I know how great something like Big Noise can be.  So I’m delighted to be able to help them kick off fundraising for this trip. Charlie and Andy may not have made it to Caracas in the film, but this Charlie is really on his way. I'm jealous!"

Charlie who is a percussionist in Big Noise and a pupil of Wallace High School said: "We are all really excited about going to Venezuela to play. We've met a lot of the musicians from there and we want to show them how good we are since they last heard us."

Raploch’s Big Noise Orchestra was launched in 2008 and is modeled on Venezuela’s El Sistema movement. In 2012 El Sistema founder Maestro Jose Antonio Abreu visited Raploch along with the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, to play the launch concert of the London 2012 Festival. Impressed by what he heard from Big Noise, Maestro Abreu invited them to play in Caracas. The Venezuelan El Sistema organisation is generously covering costs once in the country but money has to be raised to get the children to South America.

The ten-day Big Trip takes place in January and 55 children from the Stirling estate, aged between 9 and 15 will spend time rehearsing with Venezuelan youngsters in an El Sistema nucleo. Then they will perform in a major Caracas concerthall, where they will be conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, their patron and El Sistema's most famous graduate. There will also be some time working with their old friends in the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, and a day at the beach to break up all the hard work.

Sistema Scotland, the charity behind Big Noise, aims to raise £40,000 from the public towards costs of the trip. Donations can be made online following links through the Sistema Scotland website at www.bignoise.org.uk,  or cheques can be sent to Sistema Scotland, 90 Drip Road, Raploch, Stirling FK8 1RN. Cheques should be made to "Sistema Scotland".

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